The Axe Unexpectedly Falls

My blog is honest. The things you read here are accurate representations of real things I have experienced. My blog is also incomplete. I am circumspect about many details of my life, especially about my work. As I have written before, my blog originated as a way to keep friends and family informed about my experiences when I moved to Thailand more than seven years ago. I would normally not share the following type of news in this forum, but it seems the best way to bring people who are close to me up to speed.

For almost thirteen years, I have been an employee of Company R and the company it purchased a few years ago, Company I. A few months before moving to Thailand in October 2005, my manager unexpectedly asked whether my responsibilities could be shifted in such a way so that I could continue working for a few months as my replacement was found. We agreed that writing and updating training materials (instructor’s guides, online presentations, and collatoral) was a part of my job that had received less attention than it needed and would be suitable for remote work.

This short-term arrangement began well and eventually the fact that I was working 8,000 miles away from the head office was a non-issue. In fact, the ability to alternate days and nights with my colleagues because a benefit and my performance appraisals have glowed ever since. I regularly receive very positive feedback from all levels of the organization and have often been told that I am invaluable.

Two and a half weeks ago, I was invited to a “strategy” conference call with my boss, her boss, and the HR director for our division. Based on the attendees, I wasn’t surprised at the news that was delivered, even though it was completely unexpected.

My job is being eliminated in favor of a new position at our training headquarters in suburban Atlanta. I was given 90 days’ notice of the move (the new position is mine if I want it) and 30 days to choose whether to accept the offer. If I do not, I will be out of a job in mid-February.


My work experience with Company I has been very good, especially the people with whom I’ve worked closely over the years. Our acquisition by Company R has been positive and I actually feel better about the company’s future now than I did before the acquisition. There are a lot of elements of our division’s business that carry my fingerprints and I have a deep sense of ownership of the work I’ve done and the materials I’ve created that are used by more than 8,000 employees every day.

That said, after evaluating all the relevant information, I chose not to move to Atlanta. Doing so would mean leaving Tawn behind and ending our marriage* – something that isn’t an acceptable option.

I suppose it would be normal to feel angry or upset, but I appreciate that Company R gave me 90 days’ notice instead of the usual 30 and will also pay me 16 weeks of severance pay, which should cushion the blow.

One reason I’m not upset is that for the past couple of years I have realized that I’ve been enjoying the flexibility and ease of my work arrangement while not progressing in my professional development and my earning. In fact, thanks to the weakening dollar, my salary has dropped more than 25% in real terms since I moved here.

An initial inspection of my options and networking with friends here in Bangkok confirms that I should be able to find a position that will match my current salary or, with some extra effort, increases my compensation. Of course, that will come at the price of a regular office job and the hours that go with it! 

In any case, that’s the news. A big change but also a tremendous opportunity. I don’t know if I will provide very much detail of the job hunt but may provide an update or two as appropriate.


*Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, a US federal law that denies me the right to sponsor my husband for immigration because we are of the same sex.

43 thoughts on “The Axe Unexpectedly Falls

  1. Thanks for sharing your move. I am very much upset by the Defense of Marriage Act – I knew nothing about that section denying you the right to sponsor Tawn. If you wanted to move back here of considered it, I would consider trying to sponsor Tawn even though I don’t know what that entails. I am angry about that. Good luck with the job search. Your talent will hold you in good stead.

  2. That’s quite the news. There is a lot of internal turmoil at my employer as well, so I can somewhat relate the “anticipation” you mentioned. Best of luck in finding a new job.

  3. Certain jobs even if refused could be re-established if you continue to keep in contact with them. Hopefully by then you can figure out some way to bring Tawn over to America.Still a lot of businesses move on and can’t use people who take a break longer than five years.Who knows what will happen after five years? Tawn’s business could be established and be quite a success and you also finding another job that has features that is acceptable to your tastes.Superstitious? Maybe try one of the palm readers and you can blame that guy for the wrong decision?

  4. I am so saddened that you cannot sponsor Tawn to the States. I am sorry that your job is eliminated. I am sorry that you have to start looking for another job. I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry. God Willing you will land a better and more lucrative position in the near future. I pray for that. For every thing there is a reason. Come February, you will hopefully be glad with your decision.Blessings and best wishes in the search for a new job Chris. With your experience and your personality, I think you could land a job anywhere in the world.

  5. You should be able to sponsor your husband and it saddens me that you can not , that is not fair and I am sorry . I hope you find a job that suits your needs.

  6. Although I am sad that this news is about the end of your long employment with the company, I am so proud to count you as a friend. It speaks volumes about loyalty, honor, conviction and love that you would not consider taking the new position when it means separating from Tawn. I am confident that this will be a benefit in the long run. I’m saying a prayer and sending positive thoughts your way!

  7. I’m sorry to hear this news but your positive attitude is extremely encouraging. I wish you the best of luck over the next few months in searching for a new job that matches your needs and I strongly respect your desire to not leave Tawn for the convenience of keeping your job (something I’ve seen happen regularly over the past few years).

  8. Oh man… I’m sorry this had to happen to you. I hope you’ll land something soon. You’ve got a very strong and broad portfolio of skills and I know a lot of companies will benefit from having you on your team. If I can be of any help – just drop me a note. Like everyone else, I applaud your positive outlook. *hugs*

  9. It sounds like your position lasted longer than expected (a boon), but that now it is time to take the plunge into what’s next. It can be a scary step (leap?). I know you will do well, though. It will just be the logistics of routine and the stress of the transition you’ll navigate. Hang in there and remember to take care of yourself along the way. Best of luck in you next endeavor! 🙂

  10. It was quite a shock hearing this piece of news, especially when I remembered a few years back, we took a short tour of your company when I drove you to pick up stuff at the office near downtown LA. Well, I think you made the right decision of staying put and look for opportunities in BKK. Do you mind to tell us what was Tawn’s opinion on this matter? *hugs* my best wishes to your future endeavor!

  11. Sometimes we’re forced into a change that ends up being the best decision possible for us. Best of luck with the hunt for a new job & I hope that you find something that challenges and excites you!!

  12. Sending good vibes and warm thoughts as you start on a new adventure there with Tawn beside you. We always have a new adventure waiting for us but we usually do not step onto that path before something happens to make us go in that direction.I am excited for your new adventure and am happy to hear that due to your options and networking with friends there you will be able to find employment that pays well, and hopefully will be enjoyable.Very sad that the USA and the Defense of Marriage Act stops Tawn, your husband from being sponsored by you for coming to the states.My boys, two adopted sons, (not legally adopted but they are mine anyway) were married in Ohio, and discovered that in Oregon, where they have their business, they are not considered legally married. With the economy the way it is and their business being successful where it is, they have made the decision to stay in Oregon for the time being.Every time I have had to make a decision to make a change it has always turned out to be a wonderful adventureI send wishes of a wodnerful adventur to you and Tawn too.

  13. I’m sorry to hear about the news. Good luck with your job hunt for the next and better opportunity. 🙂 I’ve been in that situation in that last 2 year when I got laid off. At this point, I found a pretty decent temp/ contractor position where I’m hoping it will turn into a perm. By any chance, what types of position are u looking for and if I can be of any help, just drop me a msg. I’m in the med device and pharma industry.

  14. I’m sorry to hear that Chris. I’m so shocked to hear about this. Best of luck with your job hunt and please let me know if there’s ever anything I can do to help. I believe in you!

  15. when one door closes another opens.  now might be the time to publish that book of amazing photographs maybe several, a series on bankok and your other travels in asia.  i know i would buy one in a hot second.

  16. So sorry for the turn of events. I Wish you the very best of luck for what’s to come. Stay positive ! ;-D

  17. Sorry to hear all the scary change coming about… but things will work out for the better.Like you said, you deserve to be compensated more, especially since you’re an invaluable person/employee/whatever.You’ll land something in no time! And until then, I can’t wait for THAT post.

  18. @Finity – @oxyGENE_08 – @epiginoskete – @lonelywanderer2 – @chronic_masticator – @Passionflwr86 – @turningreen – @mizz_chan – @everyday_yogi – @secade – @murisopsis – @seedsower – @Inciteful – @Grannys_Place – @n_e_i_l – @SoullFire – @bengozen – @Toro69 – @Matt Frassica@facebook – @iedul shabuur kaiser – @alextebow – @Devilzgaysianboi – Many thanks to everyone for their kind words and wishes for good luck. I’m confident that things will work out for the best, as they always do.@icebladz – My background is in management and training/human resources development, with a lot of focus on project management and global-scale systems implementation.@Wangium – That’s about the long and short if it, Jason. So when will you be arriving?@XtremePsionic – Well, we’ve certainly considered the Canada option… along with the dozen or so other countries where we could move as a married couple.@Fatcat723 – Thanks for the offer, Rob. Unfortunately, you would no more be able to sponsor Tawn’s immigration than I can.@CurryPuffy – @beowulf222 – Had originally considered cancelling the Hong Kong trip in the interest of conserving funds, but Tawn and I decided it was best to go ahead with it.

  19. Aww. Sad news, but from knowing you on Xanga I know this is one hurdle you will overcome. It is crazy how life can change so drastically sometimes, but it keeps us on our toes, and keeps pushing us to challenge ourselves, but you already know that 🙂 cheers to a new stage in your professional life.

  20. @Fatcat723 – Yes, I’ve been following the news but the earliest possible ruling would be in the late spring. Not only would that be too late, but there would still be the whole application process for Tawn to immigrate, which would take months longer. All of that is irrelevant, though, as there are other reasons that moving to the US wouldn’t make sense for us. Still, nice that SCOTUS is getting around to addressing DOMA.@lil_squirrel4ever – Thanks for your kind words. I’m confident that this will work out just fine.

  21. chris, i’m saddened by this unfortunate turn of event in your professional life. considering how the economy is back in the states, guess it’s not too surprising when companies decide to reformat and restructure their organization. that said, i’m also glad (if i may) to know that you and tawn are still within few hours of flight from me. i have only started to get to know you both and have grown to like you guys. it would be another sad story of mine to have yet another friend moving back to the states. but set my selfishness aside, i do hope things would work out for you before the year ends. i look forward to hearing the news when i see you both in HK. for the meantime, a BIG hug for a big guy.

  22. @rudyhou – Thanks for the kind words Rudy. We were originally considering cancelling the HK trip in the interest of saving money, but since the tickets are paid for already and we are house sitting for friends, there’s really no point. So we will have the opportunity to talk more about all this in a few weeks, in person!

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